What will Luke eat next?

  • Thursday, October 15, 2009 10:57am
  • Life
Luke with charcoal paste on his muzzle.

Luke with charcoal paste on his muzzle.

By Dr. Judy Hung

Reporter columnist

Luke is a happy-go-lucky 11 month old Golden Retriever who loves everybody and everything in life. He has a permanent smile that is absolutely contagious. During the spring, when he was just 5 months old, he ate some D-Con Rat poison that he found hidden in the deep recesses of the garage. Luckily, mom saw the tampered package and acted quickly to call us for advice. Mom immediately induced vomiting, and verified that he had vomited up the bright green granules. She brought the product package in so we could calculate the amount he ingested. We then gave him activated charcoal to absorb any potential rat poison that was not vomited up. Unlike most of our other patients, he ate the activated charcoal like it was a treat! We monitored him for a couple of weeks for any signs of blood clotting problems as a result of possible absorption of the toxin. If he had prolonged bleeding times on his lab tests, he would have been treated with Vitamin K as the antidote for the rat poison. Fortunately, he survived this potentially life threatening crisis and continued to grow normally.

Three months later, at the age of 8 months, something was not right with Luke. He started to vomit in the middle of the night, and continued to vomit grass and liquid throughout the morning. He did not want to eat his breakfast. He was quiet compared to his usual perky attitude. Despite the inappetence and vomiting, he had a normal bowel movement. Since this occurred over the weekend, Luke’s parents brought him to the emergency clinic for evaluation, and discovered that he had an obstruction in the small intestine. Surgery was required to remove the obstruction which ended up being a rotten corn cob. His family did not have corn recently nor did they give him any table food. There was no evidence of garbage raiding elsewhere, but somehow, he found a corn cob to gnaw on. Again, he survived this life threatening crisis and is back to his usual jovial self.

Puppies and kittens are naturally curious, and they love to explore with their mouths. Toxin exposure and foreign body obstructions are on top of the list of possibilities of things that can be life threatening. Signs of a foreign body obstruction in a pet can include being unusually tired, not interested in eating, vomiting frequently, or exhibiting pain in the abdomen. Eating toxic substances can cause clinical signs such as excessive salivation, seizures, vomiting, or unexplained bleeding or bruising. Acting quickly can make a significant difference in the outcome. Please do not wait to consult your regular veterinarian or local emergency hospital for advice if you suspect your pet has ingested something it shouldn’t have.

Contact Dr. Judy Hung with Eastside Veterinary Associates at Vet

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